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The unusual circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a unique situation in 2020, home field advantage rules for World Series. These rules have been restored to their previous status quo.
Hosting rights for the (*] Fall Classic will be awarded to the team that has the highest regular-season winning percentage. Tiebreakers will be used if each World Series team has the exact same regular-season winning percentage.
The league champion with the best record against the other league champion in the regular season had to be declared the winner.
The league champion who has a better record than teams from its own division
The league champion who has the best record against its own league teams (the National League club record vs. NL and the American League team record vs. AL).
The 2021 postseason does include a potential quirk, thanks to the 106-win Dodgers finishing second to the 107-win Giants in the National League West division. The Dodgers won the NL Wild Card Game against the Cardinals, which allowed them to reach the NLDS against San Francisco. Should Los Angeles prevail in Thursday’s winner-take-all NLDS Game 5, it would not enjoy home-field advantage against the NL East champion Braves (88-73 regular season record) in the best-of-seven NLCS because of its Wild Card status.
Los Angeles would have home-field advantage if the Dodgers win this hypothetical. This is because the Fall Classic rules that the AL champion in World Series has to host Games 1, 2, 6, and 7.
Resting 2021, postseason teams, based on regular season win%
Astros: . 586
Red Sox: 568
This current format was only installed in 2017, and there have actually been four different sets of World Series home-field advantage rules in the 21st century alone.
The coronavirus pandemic caused many changes in the 2020 MLB seasons, which lasted all the way to the final stage. As part of MLB’s effort to reduce coronavirus exposure, the 116th World Series was played at a neutral site — the brand-new Globe Life Field in Arlington. This was also the first Fall Classic to be played at a single stadium since 1944,, when the Browns faced off against the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.
That was, thankfully, a one-time only phenomenon as publicly available vaccinations for COVID-19 allowed MLB stadiums to return to full capacity again in 2021. The home-field advantage rules are now back to the “best win percentage” format that was first installed in 2017..
From 2003-16, World Series home-field advantage was given to the team from the league that won that year’s All-Star Game, a rule that was installed after a 7-7 tie in the 2002 Midsummer Classic. For the 98 editions, home-field advantage was simply divided between the AL or NL depending on whether it were an odd or even year.
How big of a difference is it? Per the Elias Sports Bureau, 63 of the 106 teams (59%) that played the first two World Series games at home prior to 2020 went on to win the championship, and 17 of the 25 (68%) teams with World Series home-field advantage in the Wild Card Era (dating back to 1995) also raised the Commissioner’s Trophy.
But on the other hand, home teams have a losing record (19-21) when the Series goes to a decisive winner-take-all contest (aka Game 7, in modern times) — and fans did just see a one-of-a-kind Fall Classic in 2019, when the Nationals beat the Astros in a seven-game series in which the home team didn’t win a single contest.
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